Should You Use Quickbooks Online or the Quickbooks 2014 Desktop Version?

Quickbooks offers a variety of methods to purchase and use their software.  Most people use the Quickbooks desktop version, but the Quickbooks Online version is becoming more and more popular.  Having used the Quickbooks Online version with clients for a while now, I am also starting to really like the software.

When it comes to Quickbooks Online, there are generally 3 options you can choose from: Quickbooks Online Simple Start, Quickbooks Online Essentials, and Quickbooks Online Plus.  Each level has various features and benefits, and they range in price from $13-$40 per month (as of early 2014).

The most popular choice among business owners is Quickbooks Online Essentials because it has enough features for most people, while the Simple Start has some pretty limited options.  However, if you want to do payroll and prepare 1099’s, you need to sign up for Quickbooks Online Plus.

Now, if you are thinking of making the switch to Quickbooks Online from the desktop, there are a few things you should know:

1.  Quickbooks Online is extremely convenient because you can access it pretty much anywhere you have an Internet connection.

2.  Online Edition upgrades are free and usually released 2 to 3 times per year; it is not necessary to purchase a new version of QuickBooks Online Edition. Desktop versions of QuickBooks are purchased as new software each year, although multiple free updates to the program are released throughout the supported life of the purchased software.

3.  Online Edition includes support is at no additional cost. Support for desktop versions of QuickBooks is not included for the life of the product.

4.  Online Edition does not integrate with QuickBooks Point of Sale as desktop versions of QuickBooks do.

5.  Online Edition does not do complete job costing, although it does track expenses by job. QuickBooks desktop versions offers complete job costing.

6.  Online Edition offers less flexibility with regard to customizing forms or reports than QuickBooks desktop versions.

7.  You have the ability to import your data from the desktop version to the online version.

So, while there are some limitations of the online edition, it does offer the flexibility to use it anytime and anywhere.  And if you do make the switch, it can take some getting used to, but can be worth the change.

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